Art and Design

Read tat*

Read tat* – Inspirational Graphic Ephemera – Andy Altmann by Andy Altmann

Tat* is a bit of a graph­ic designer’s curse. Walk into any design stu­dio and you’ll see bits and pieces of graph­ic ephemera pinned to the walls or taped to a com­put­er screen. Even the purist will have a secret cache hid­den away some­where. Design­er Andy Alt­mann has been col­lect­ing tat for more than 30 years. He finds inspi­ra­tion in the ordi­nary, and mag­ic in the mun­dane. Final­ly he has decid­ed to share his col­lec­tion with the world. Con­ceived and edit­ed by Andy, this is the apoth­e­o­sis of tat. A visu­al trea­sure trove, full of sur­pris­es, it should find a place on every graph­ic designer’s desk.

Tat: anything that looks cheap, is of low quality, or in bad condition; junk, rubbish, debris

This book was a delight to wander through. A good bit of the appeal is wonderment at what someone else has decided was worth saving – and his delight in his own collection is evident throughout. It’s playfully designed, creating collages out of ephemera and commentary.

It’s also an exercise in seeing what you’re looking at. It’s lowbrow, finding art in the untrained and accidental and utilitarian.

I think the author would be tickled that I’m saving my favorites on what’s basically my online scrapbook.

Bush milk bottle cap in black and red
I like the stacked words on the black vertical stripe

Babyfat – font by Milton Glaser, 1964

Cool black shading on the MOORE lettering – look how many fonts they used in this thing 👀
Commiting to that concept 😎 How often now do you see companies go all in on type designs?

Bingo lingo – slang phrases to represent various numbers

Dig those S’s


Saucy, there’s a word you don’t hear much anymore
Ugh, Victorians “helpless, hopeless, homeless”

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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